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Help a newb with an amp + soundcard setup.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hey, just bought a new computer.  And I"m about to pull the trigger on some Sennheiser HD 600s.

 

So basically I'm wondering what would be the best bang for buck soundcard and amp (these two components are what is required, right?) combination that would allow me to listen to music at a much higher quality than I'm used to.  Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 

hmm I did a little reading and..would the asus xonar essence stx soundcard fulfill all my needs?  for $175 that would be pretty nice if it was good enough. smily_headphones1.gif

post #3 of 12

For music listening and dynamic/ortho headphones, that's probably your best bet indeed.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

For music listening and dynamic/ortho headphones, that's probably your best bet indeed.



Cool so that's all I need to purchase?    That's cheap!

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I guess my main question is..

 

If I purchase a nice headphone amp (would like recommendations), do I also need a sound card?  Is it one or the other, or both? :o  Pardon my ignorance.

post #6 of 12

Analog motherboard audio generally isn't very clean. You'll hear hissing and buzzing with sensitive headphones. That's why people get sound cards or external DACs (along with any DSP or gaming features, if desired).

 

As for the Xonar Essence STX, it's said to perform better than external DACs in its price range or even more expensive, and the amp's said to be pretty powerful, too. I don't think you'll have to worry about an external amp unless you want to go electrostatic later on (because 'stats work too differently and require specialized amps). I don't have first-hand experience with the Essence STX, but if I wasn't so much into gaming, I'd probably have one as my card of choice.

 

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ok thanks a lot.  I think I'll just go for the Asus STX and call it a day then :)

post #8 of 12

I would recommend an external dac over any inboard device.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

If I understand correctly, my other option -- if I don't purchase the Asus STX is to buy an external DAC and headphone amp as well.

 

Could you please recommend me an external DAC + amp combination that is close to the Asus STX in pricing?  Perhaps..a budget of around $300-500?

post #10 of 12

$300-500? If I knew you were willing to spend THAT much...

 

Coincidentally, it's also said to be the price range where external DACs actually start being legitimate improvements from internal sound cards, or so I've heard.

 

Someone advised me to scour AudiogoN for used PS Audio Digital Link models, preferably II or III if the budget permits. That, or a Rega DAC. (Keep in mind that I have no experience with these things and probably won't be buying one for a very long while. My budget's tight enough just trying to get a Stax amp and a better Lambda.)

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

I ended up buying fiios e7/e9 combination for $200 off amazon.  Hope I did ok.  I really have no idea what I'm doing, ha.

post #12 of 12

The E9's said to be a good amp for the money, but the E7 is allegedly a worse DAC than the Essence STX if you actually look at the specs and don't need the portability. (Unless you use a laptop, which you most certainly were not if you were even considering internal sound cards.)

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